Wednesday, August 29, 2012

LOIS GOODMAN: Arraignment & Bail Hearing

Lois Goodman, at her arraignment August 29th, 2012
Photo credit: Al Seib, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE August 30th: removed link. Sprocket.

The LA County Sheriff's web site indicates Ms. Goodman's next court appearance is scheduled for October 3rd, 2012, at Van Nuys Courthouse, Department 122.

Goodman's family is currently trying to raise the funds for her defense.

UPDATE August 29th: for clarity, spelling, by Days Like This

I wanted to get to the Van Nuys Courthouse a bit early because I wanted to pick up a copy of the defense motion at the clerk's office before I entered Dept 100.  A big thanks to Elizabeth Martinez of the court's Public Information Office for getting me that motion so quickly.  You rock, Liz!

Lois Goodman is to be arraigned today on murder charges and her attorney will present a motion to reduce Ms. Goodman's bail.  The prosecution alleges Ms. Goodman repeatedly stabbed at her husband with the the shards from a broken coffee cup.  Although I've never heard of a judge (or commissioner) reducing bail on a murder charge, that doesn't mean it can't happen.

Up on the third floor outside Dept 100 were a mass of people who had come to court in support of Lois Goodman.   I see a friendly face in the rotunda, local ABC 7's on-air court reporter, Miriam Hernandez, and I get to chat with her a bit.  Miriam is a beautiful woman and always looks sharply dressed.  She was wearing a deep berry red top and a geometric patterned skirt.

When the courtroom is finally open, the friends of Ms. Goodman fill half of the center area of the gallery.  I take a quick head count and there appear to be at least 25 or more people here for her.  A few minutes after I take my seat, my friend Katie arrives and gets a seat right beside me.  Katie attended quite a bit of the Lazarus trial with me and it's nice to see her.

A pretty, trim blond officer wearing a form fitting light blue blouse and dark skirt walks by and enters the well of the court.  Her badge is attached to her waist in the front but behind her, attached to a belt in the center of her back are a pair of handcuffs.  A few of us in the gallery joke that the handcuffs hanging there might be attractive to some.

The prosecutor I saw at the first hearing arrives, Lisa Tanner.  She's also accompanied by a second DDA, Sharon Ransom.  Both women are dressed in dark, conservative suits.

At 9:00 AM, Lois Goodman's attorney, Alison Treissl comes out of the detainee area.  She was probably visiting with her client.  One of the reporters tells me Ms. Goodman has three daughters who are all standing by her.

Making small talk, I mentioned that I had attended a LAVA event at the Crime Lab (Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center) on Sunday where author John Leake spoke about his latest self-published book, Cold A Long Time: An Alpine Mystery.  My favorite scientist, Dr. Lynne Herold also spoke at the lecture about ligature knots in relation to an Austria case, the murder trial of Jack Unterweger, that Leake also wrote about in Entering Hades: The Double Life Of A Serial Killer.  (I'm behind on stories, and I hope to put up an entry about this lecture, soon. Sprocket.)

Miriam then shared with me that one of her co-workers at the station, Kevin Warner, also wrote an e-book that he self-published called Bungalow Heaven.  Miriam says it's a combination of mystery and comedy.

9:05 AM, we're still waiting for the hearing to get underway.  Five minutes later, the center gallery is packed.  The still photographer and the video cameraman are in front of me, but I notice that the cameraman doesn't have his heavy video equipment on the tripod yet.   I mention this to Miriam and she wonders too.  She then gets up to check, I think to see what the delay in setting up might be.

9:17 AM, the court reporter takes her desk to the right of Commissioner Mitchell Block.  Katie then mentions to me that she saw Lois for just a moment through the mesh on the door to the detainee section.  There are a few reporters behind me, working away on their laptops and iPads, reading documents and E-mails.  As I watch the detainee area, I see Goodman for just a moment, briefly lean her head to look out the big plate glass windows.  Moments later she is brought out into the courtroom.  She was wearing an orange jumpsuit, with a white long-johns type shirt underneath. This is exactly like what Stephanie Lazarus wore at her pre-trial appearances.

The prosecution and defense identify themselves for the record.  Alison Triessl and Robert Sheahen.  Commissioner Block asks the prosecution if they have had time to read the defense motion.  They have.  Commissioner Block asks the defense if there is anything else, new, they want to put on the record before he rules?  He tells her he does not need to hear argument that he has already read.  Triessl states that they do, and that they will be brief. 

Unfortunately, I don't have in my notes who from the defense speaks first.  This is not a case of pretrial (contation?) (We?) do not have a case of (premeditation?).  "We simply ask the court to reduce bond.  Reduce it to a more reasonable figure." The defense goes on to say, it's beyond the reach of the defendant for this (circumstance?).  (Requesting?) an amount sufficient for her to appear in court.  (The public? standard? there is) no evidence of premeditation.  (The police believe/stated) ...she snapped.  (Then this is a) manslaughter case.

The defense requests a bond of $100,000.00, and something to the effect that this is where bond for a manslaughter case gets filed.  (It's?) already been stated it will come out as a 192 (penal code), (a manslaughter case).

Then the defense argues that if Ms. Goodman is in jail, she will lose the right to a fair trial. The defense needs to help to get to (various?) neighbors..... need her out to....

Triessl goes on the record to give her word as an officer of the court that her family does not have the collateral to meet the 1 million bond.  Her daughters are willing to put up their homes as collateral.  They will not have the collateral for 1 million.

Triessl then describes the concerns she has for Ms. Goodman's health, and her access to needed medical care.  She tells the court that Ms. Goodman has a spinal cord stimulator implanted in her body.  It's been in the constant "on" position since her arrest.  There is a remote device that needs to be in contact with her body to turn it off.  She has not been able to sleep because she can't adjust this device.

Triessl tells the court that Ms. Goodman was cooperative with the police investigators.  She met with them three different times, on April 21st, April 23rd and May 3rd.  She let them know she would be going to New York.  She was willing to cooperate.  She drove herself to the police station, as required.  "I've been assured she will be brought to each and every court hearing. (snip) She will comply to every court instruction.

Then DDA Sharon Ransom addresses the court. She speaks for the victim, Alan Goodman.  Alan Goodman was 80 years old.  He had diabetes and (heart?) condition.  He was a helpless man.  The defendant used (the shards from a coffee cup) to stab the victim at least ten times.  (This was a very violent act?) She left him lying in bed to bleed and die.  She left to officiate a tennis match and to get her nails done.

Ransom continued, "There is evidence of premeditation.  There were two areas of assault (found in the home).  (snip)  There was an assault on the (stairway?) landing and where he lay dying. (snip) Also there were multiple areas of (stabbing? injury? that) show (the defendant) was trying to kill him.(snip) The next day, she spoke to potential witnesses, trying to create an alibi.  (snip) We have evidence she spoke to witnesses the day of the event, the next day and the following week, (snip) telling them different stories as to what might have occurred. (snip) (She was) trying to manipulate potential witnesses. (snip) There are medical facilities in the jail to deal with these (her?) health issues."

DDA Ransom continues to argue that bail should not be reduced in this case.  The recommended bail of 1 million is given to anyone that commits a murder.  This (amount? of) bail given to anyone. It doesn't matter whether they live in Beverly Hills or Compton.  Ransom speaks about her age, and another factor that I miss and asks the court to leave the bail amount at 1 million.

The court asks the prosecution, "Why do you believe she is a flight risk?"

DDA Ransom responds, "She was in New York.  She has connections all over the US... (snip) (as the letters support? show?) I think she is a flight risk."

The court and the prosecutor discuss electronic monitoring and if that would change their position.  The prosecution responds that people can get around electronic monitoring. "I don't think it's an (ultimate?) deterrent (to fleeing?)."

The court then makes it's ruling.  Commissioner Block states, "I have read the moving papers and attached letters.  I disagree with the argument of the defense that because the LAPD detective opined the defendant snapped and this should be a manslaughter case.  The (LAPD) are not the charging agency.  (snip) I don't think the district attorney should be held to what charge can be filed because of what the LAPD said in the newspaper."

"I don't agree with the defense argument that it would be difficult to get witnesses to assist in the defense.  That flies in the face of all the letters she received. (snip) Whether the defendant has the resources, that's not something this court is concerned with. It's concerned with the nature of the charges and setting appropriate bail."

The court then opines on why and when the court should deviate from presumptive bail.  "The court also has to consider the circumstances surrounding each defendant.  In this case the court finds that presumptive bail is justified .... (the defendant's age?), the lack of a criminal record, and ties to the community, the court leans against presumptive bail. (snip) The court does not believe $100,000.00 is appropriate. (snip) There was additional information provided by the prosecution surrounding the incident.  The conclusion I've reached, .... I believe the presumptive ..... set bail at $500,000.00."

Commissioner Block states he took into consideration the seriousness (of the crime) and also took into consideration the lack of criminal acts and ties to the community, (that the bail) will be sufficient, subject to electronic monitoring.  The defendant will have reasonable access to medical appointments and religious services.  Those will be the only exceptions to (home confinement).  He invites counsel to list any other (needed exceptions?).

The defense asked that she be allowed to come to their offices, but then conceded that they could meet her at her home.

The court states that no bail will go into effect until electronic monitoring has been set up.

The court then asks what date to set for the preliminary hearing.  After a bit of back and forth, the date for the preliminary hearing will be October 3rd.  The court calendar is set for that date at zero of 30.

Commissioner Block asks the defendant for her plea.  She waives and pleads not guilty.  Commissioner Block is clear in asking the defendant if she gives up her right to a preliminary hearing within (10?) days and that she will have her preliminary hearing on October 3rd 2012, or 30 days there after.  Ms. Goodman answers, "Yes."  The court asks, "Counsel join?"  The defense join and the prosecution agrees.  And that's it.  (I'll be surprised if the preliminary hearing is held that quickly. Sprocket.)

Everyone files outside to see if the prosecution and the defense will speak to the media.

When I get outside, one of the supporters in the gallery for the defendant is speaking to the media.  It's Sid Kulberg, who knew Ms. Goodman through the tennis community. In his statement, Kulberg tells the press, "I don't know her that well personally... (snip) ...and she has been a friend in the tennis community."

First the prosecution team speaks to the media.  Nothing new was said that wasn't already said in court.  Although DDA Sharon Ransom remained composed in accordance with the seriousness of the charges, DDA Lisa Tanner was still nervously smiling when answering questions from the press.  Below is a photo I took of the prosecutors with my cell phone. I'm sorry the image is not that great quality.

DDA Sharon Ransom, left
DDA Lisa Tanner, right

After the prosecution spoke, Alison Triessl spoke to the press about her client's innocence. She mentioned that it was a testament to Ms. Goodman's ties to the community due to the support (snip) (number of people?) the community here today.  She states her client is very confused and that she told Ms. Goodman it may take some time and to please be patient.  I believe she also spoke about her client's many health issues and that she is innocent of the charges.

I've read some news reports that said Ms. Goodman cried while seated at the defense table.  I did not see it. I overheard one of the photographers say they thought she was going to cry, but they did not see tears.

I have uploaded a complete copy of the defense bail reduction motion.  Although the defense motion states there are over forty letters attached, (and that's what many media outlets reported) when I picked up my copy of the defense motion, there were only twenty-two letters of support from Ms. Goodman's family and friends, along with a statement from Ms. Triessl. Several support letters stated they have known Ms. Goodman for up to 30 years and that she is not a violent person.  For privacy, I have deleted E-mail addresses, personal addresses and phone numbers that appeared in the letters.

It should be noted that an anonymous poster left comments on my prior entry about the defendant's first appearance at the Van Nuys court, claiming Ms. Goodman had several physical ailments.  Every single one of those statements by the anonymous poster were also detailed in the defense bail reduction motion.


ABC GMA's August 29th Story
LA Times Now
LA Times Now Earlier Story


Anonymous said...

i totally respect the maintaing of privacy that u reflect in your writings. as i stated to u before as well sent you the medical information on one of ms. goodmans ailments, to respond to the item of crying" as i stated ms.g. does not have the ability to produce tears or saliva. respects to privacy and the acts of the press removing the personal info attached to letters of ms. g. press has continued to harrass people. yes there were 40 letters produced by ms. g. friends family over night..however brevity caused the non introduction of some. /as result of the loss of equity and downward spirals of real estate it has become impossible to raise the collateral required for bond. the wholesale reduction impacts the values more then 90% a plea for help has been called for via "legal defense fund for Lois Goodman" web site...
when the detectives picked up ms.g in new york they neglected to secure her meds batteries for hearing aids and remote control necessary to shut down the electronic device on her spine. causing ms.g. continued sleeplessness since her arrest over a week ago. the lapd continues the dissemination
of their theories , each one has been shut down history reflects that, including "love Triangle" no longer do they put yjay as their motive because they know it is not so. however it did not stop nancy grace from doing 20 minutes on her show from labeling her nor did she stop at that but continued to present outright lies which will pollute the jury pool. shame on her. they went into the families facdbook and stole pictures.and plastered the pics of the grandchildren on nationwide tv.

Sprocket said...

Thank you for sharing with T&T's readers the explanation about the "40 letters." I take it then, that more than 40 people wrote letters, but Ms. Triessl decided to only present 22 of those letters to Commissioner Block.

I'm sorry, but I have no control as to what Nancy Grace covers on her show.

I personally respect the desire for privacy for those who are just supporting a loved one who has been arrested. I know what it's like to have my personal information posted on the web, although it was not at the hands of the mainstream media, but through supporters of a defendant.

If you review the cases I've covered, I have honored the request for anonymity from every single person who has E-mailed me, or that I've spoken with, or met in person.

I await the release of the autopsy report, and the conclusions from crime scene analysts, but that may not happen until the preliminary hearing.